Making a VR “Safe Space”

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, like the newly launched Oculus Rift, Sony VR and the HTV Vive, have revolutionised gaming and entertainment. This was emphasised recently by an episode of Netflix original series, Black Mirror, which looked at augmented reality.

The ability to perceive a 3D environment you can interact with and move around in has opened up many new doors in game design and software design. However, there are early teething problems, as making VR experiences completely safe to move around in, is proving difficult and a number of people have found themselves falling, tripping or striking objects and people while trying to use the headsets.

VR could be pathing the way to personal injury claims

Suitable for living rooms?

If you go to any games show or demo area displaying a VR headset currently, you’ll notice that any games requiring movement will have a particularly large empty space for you to navigate around.

There is a huge difference between these VR demo spaces and a regular living room (usually the largest free space in a house) with your living room often cluttered with drawers, sofas, televisions and relatives! All of these are at risk of blocking your path or being struck by you.

At first glance this may not seem like much of a risk, but as we have already seen with the initial launch of motion based games on the Nintendo Wii in 2006, property and people can still come to some serious harm even when the risk is small.

There have also been multiple videos, GIFs and online reports of VR users injuring themselves from dislocating knees, due to tripping over wires and hitting their head on the floor. There have also been reports of people hitting those nearby while engaged in a game.

What are the answers?

There are some early ideas on how to resolve the problems faced with occupying a space in VR. In the earlier stages of VR experience, it is more beneficial to ensure there is somebody able to regulate your movement and ensuring you don’t knock any items or hit walls as part of your experience. Answers to resolve injuries or damage in the early stages include:

  • Assistance: At gaming industry shows and demos, there are often representatives of either the gaming store or the game developers to helpfully ensure you don’t run out of room of venture towards unwitting passers by. In the home this could be a friend or relative.
  • Dedicated space: The best examples of VR experiences so far have taken place in large, uncluttered areas where the freedom to move gives to the best possible experience. While not guaranteed to work should a player begin to run and head towards the edges of the room, it is always better to have the biggest possible space to use VR.
  • Static gaming: Originally, VR games began life by commonly tethering the player to a cockpit, driving seat or a similar position which didn’t require movement. There are also games which integrate normal controllers, allowing you a full 3D experience and control of movement but safe in the knowledge you are seated.
  • Platform gaming: For those with a little extra cash to spare, the most immersive gaming experience has to come from a VR platform. A 360 treadmill that allows a user to go in any direction including backwards naturally, they are kept on the machine while playing using a waist height circular fence allowing a player to jump, run, walk or strafe in any direction they want.

Game safely

However you enjoy your VR, make sure you don’t end up like some of the early adopters of the experience and enjoy your games or movies either sat down or on the move.

If you should suffer an injury while under supervision, at an event or in a store, you are able to seek legal action against those who have allowed you to suffer. Unlike an unsupervised environment at home where you are expected to ensure your own safety, when supervised it is expected that those in charge of your experience ensure you have a fun but safe one.

Here at Scott Rees & Co we have experience in dealing with all levels of personal injury, including ones from slips, trips and falls. In a supervised setting, this is no different than if you were to fall or slip at work. To speak to one of our specialist advisers, you can call us on 01695 722 222 (lines are open weekdays from 9am to 7pm) or you can fill in our online contact form, detailing your incident. We can then get back to you with free, impartial, conscientious advice.

If you, your family or a friend has suffered an injury from bruising and sprains to broken bones or torn ligaments while completing a supervised activity, call Scott Rees & Co today for a no win no fee claim, ensuring you won’t pay a penny if your claim is unsuccessful.

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